Fall Weed Survey – Invasive species and Plants affecting Livestock

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Keith Waldron, NYS IPM

As we enter the harvest season take some time to update your field records. It is a great time to take stock of what field issues can be found and note them in individual field records to enhance future management decisions. Note particularly good and bad areas with the field such as differences in crop height, plant populations, drainage, yield, etc. Updates on pest presence or damage can also be noted at this time.


An easily visible pest group to document this time of year are weeds. What species? Where are they found? How many are there? What management type (annual, perennial, biennial, grass or broadleaf species? Knowing this information helps to refine weed management decisions and develop next years cropping plans.

While visiting fields to conduct the fall weed survey note presence of troublesome perennial species like Canada thistle and milkweed and potentially invasive species such as spiderwort, Japanese knotweed, leafy spurge, multiflora rose and spotted knapweed growing in or around production and fallow fields, pastures, in fence lines or in windbreaks. Consider hand weeding or spot treatments if practical. Many websites have information on invasive plant species. For information on invasive species in NYS see: http://nyis.info/ and http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/plants/main.shtml.

If you raise livestock, fall is also a good time to assess pastures and other grazed areas for presence of common weed species known to be harmful to animals. These species include horsetail (Equisetum spp), poke weed, St. Johnswort, tall buttercup, jimson weed, common milkweed and among others. A listing of some common plants poisonous to livestock can be found in the publication: Common Weeds Poisonous to Grazing Livestock  http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/livestock/dairy/facts/poisonousweeds.htm#2

To learn more about Plants Poisonous to Livestock and other Animals see: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/